One of the main things that my clients and I work on is clarity and goal setting. These amazing women often find it hard to narrow down what it is that they actually want in a job, and life for that matter. They are so used to nurturing and caring for others that they have lost sight of their own wants & needs and what other things besides the family brings them joy. Let alone working out what job they would like to do.
And, it’s a tough spot to be in, it can leave you experiencing feelings of listlessness, frustration, agitation and purposelessness. Once you know what direction to look into, life becomes a lot more energized and fun. Navigating your road map becomes a lot easier when the roads are clearly signposted! I think the struggle often begins with thinking you need to come up with this ‘Master Plan’ , this ultimate goal. And to make it even more challenging, to ‘find your purpose’ and turn that into a job and career. This way of thinking hinders more than it helps. The point is to find something that gets you excited and motivated, a near term goal if you like. If you are on the right track, you will naturally continue on it and opportunities will organically come your way. A more lenient approach will leave you more space and flexibility to make adjustments as you go. At this stage the ‘goal’ should be more the journey in finding your ‘what’ rather than the actual end game.
For years I would ponder all sorts of careers that seemed great, until I would find something wrong with it. Which there always would be. I would make the mistake of finding the absolute perfect job in all aspects, instead of focusing on what would bring me the most joy. When you are in alignment with your needs and values, the downsides often become much more manageable than you envisioned. Here are some of the jobs and careers I decided against:
Fashion Buyer (my first career goal, after dreaming of being a ballerina that is) In the end I decided Fashion Designer was not a good fit as it would mean a lot of travel and time away from the family
Lawer I decided that law was not always about justice and that would crush me
Designer I decided that it was not a sure enough income and how would I get passed not having any inspiration? Too stressful to have to deliver when I was blocked (there are tools to help with this!)
Teacher I wasn’t sure I’d have the patience to be in the classroom for years
And, so many more wonderful career ideas came and went
Now I look at this list and think “why”? I see a starting point, there are so many ways I could have gone with any of these careers if I had allowed myself to think more flexibly.
Finding out what you want in a career and life is a process that takes time, so why not have a little fun with it.
Here are some helpful steps to help you on your way:
Grab a big piece of paper, colored pencils, whatever you like and write down any job and activity you love to do. For jobs, just think of any wild job you would think of as fun (being a coffee representative? Work with animals, kids (let’s face it, they can be animals sometimes), a pilot, a stuntperson, whatever it is, jot it all down. The key is not to think or dwell on it but to let it flow and have fun with it. Just as important is writing down all the other activities you like to spend your time on or would dream of doing. Perhaps this is being in nature, swimming in the sea, painting, working in the garden, taking trips abroad, going on the Orient Express (oh yes, this was my childhood honeymoon dream. Did not happen - yet), see the Northern Lights, live abroad for a while, etc. Write it all down, be free!
Next step is to make a little more sense out of it and write down what it is about those activities that you like and see how you can incorporate it into your daily life. For instance, you like making art, join an art workshop or a painting class, perhaps redesign your flowerbeds, make a point of taking a walk along the beach or lake once a week, get a canoe and be out on the water, explore a new place every week/ month, etc. You want to start feeding the activities you enjoy, the more you do them the more joy and energy it will bring into your life, and the more ideas and clarity it will give you about your direction.
Think back to all the jobs you’ve had and what elements of those jobs you enjoyed doing. What would your boss or colleagues often ask you to do, what were you known for doing well? Write all of these down, and go back as far as you can. Don’t just stick with the last two jobs. And also consider what type of roles the jobs you enjoyed were, leadership, creative, sales?
What jobs of others did you envy? Envy is often regarded as a negative emotion but it is actually a very helpful emotion which highlights what matters to you. I used to envy this girl who was a global sales representative for a cheese company - oh my goodness!!! Can I eat cheese all day and bring joy to others too?! And you get paid for it!
What topics can you easily talk about without preparation? What topics really get you going and fired up?
Next, highlight words and activities that jump out at you and create a kind of storyline of what matters to you and what you enjoy. This storyline doesn’t have to be long, a couple of sentences will do. Gradually you will start to see a pattern. Be curious and explore the process. Then start acting on it. By incorporating more of what you enjoy in your daily life you will start to grow your ‘clarity-list-of-options’.
Gratitude Journal - don’t just stop at 6! Every night before going to bed, write down what was good about your day, what brought you joy and why it brought you joy. This can even be something small and simple like: “I enjoyed sitting in the garden this morning with my cup of coffee listening to the birds sing, because it brought me a sense of peace. I enjoyed a nice lunch with a friend because it brought me a sense of connection, or an unexpected fun conversation with a stranger because it gave me new ideas, etc. It is a great way to bring to light all the things that bring you joy.
By following these steps you create your personal red thread which will in turn become your own road map to clarity and success.
Knowing what you want and what brings you joy, makes life lighter and more exciting. You deserve to get the most out of it.
If you’re ready for a lasting change, let’s get you on track!
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